Sulfinator

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I'm finally getting down to what I've spent 8 years waiting for, applying to path residencies. I'm pumped about it. I'm trying to use that enthusiasm to help push me through all this ERAS stuff. I'm getting ready to write my personal statement, and am wondering if any of you have any particular bits of wisdom for how to approach it. I will definitely address why I'm interested in pathology, but I'm not sure what other key things to focus on. Maybe my research experience (just finished the PhD last summer), hobbies, life outside of medicine? Is there anything I should avoid saying in the personal statement?

I appreciate any constructive input that anyone has to offer.
 

malchik

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I think of the PS as an opportunity to talk about the future. Your past is covered ad nauseum on the rest of the application and CV. Write about what you plan to do, and don't feel like you have to be too specific and have everything plotted out. And keep it concise.
 

HESC

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yo, how long should this thing be?

ERAS states about an 8 page limit, but my roomie (who is an intern) said 1 page!

anyone know the truth?
 

malchik

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one page maximum. Mine was 3 paragraphs. Say what you want to say, then get the hell out. You don't want to annoy people with epic verbosity, and they likely won't read it beyond a page anyway.
 
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Sulfinator

Sulfinator

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Thanks for the advice. I'm glad to hear that brevity in the personal statement is not something that will be generally frowned upon. :)
 

mrp

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To re-iterate: short and to the point.

I've read a lot of personal statement in the last couple of years. In general, I prefer if they're 3-4 paragraphs. I get actively annoyed if they're longer than 1 page.

In general, a bad PS will hurt you, but a good PS won't help you that much, so don't stress too much. Just a few paragraphs about what you want to do with your life and why.

EDIT: I didn't read the preceding comments above--I guess they say the exact same stuff I'm saying.
 

BU Pathology

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I'm finally getting down to what I've spent 8 years waiting for, applying to path residencies. I'm pumped about it. I'm trying to use that enthusiasm to help push me through all this ERAS stuff. I'm getting ready to write my personal statement, and am wondering if any of you have any particular bits of wisdom for how to approach it. I will definitely address why I'm interested in pathology, but I'm not sure what other key things to focus on. Maybe my research experience (just finished the PhD last summer), hobbies, life outside of medicine? Is there anything I should avoid saying in the personal statement?

I appreciate any constructive input that anyone has to offer.

Back when I was a deanlet I would advise dozens of students every year about their personal statements. My personal metric for successful advice is that each of these advisees matched.

My general advice is that the statement should focus on three issues. One, why you are interested in pathology (or radiology or whichever field). The more specific information you can provide (such as your current rotation in AP) the better. Two, why you would be a good pathologist. Include specific attribrutes that would make you an excellent candidate. Three, and the most difficult, why the field of pathology would be a better discipline with you as a member. This is is the most difficult to do without sounding arrogant.

The personal statement should be one page. Work to keep it concise, use active verbs. Microsoft Word actually has functions that will check your document for readability that can be helpful.

Good luck with your application to pathology, it is a great field with tremendous opportunities.

Dan Remick, M.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center
 

danaphosaurus

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I have read the personal statements of all people who have interviewed at our program over the last 3 years. I like them short and to the point as people have previously said. I also think that if there is something that may appear wierd in your application or if you took time off it should be explained in your statement. Don't be flowery.
 

MirkoCrocop

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for a $mall incentive i would be happy to write your PS for you. i guarantee acceptance or next app cycle it's free!
 
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Sulfinator

Sulfinator

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Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I at least a have a good starting point now.

MirkoCrocop: thanks for the offer, let's see what happens with my own statement first. :D
 

chromatin

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Hello! Just joined this site and applying to pathology this year. I know personal statements should be <1 page. However, I am a Md-Ph.D student, and my personal statement needs to include both clinical and research interest + background. If it's 1 paragraph over, would this work? Or should I still stick to 1 page?

Also, is it too late? Nervous seeing so many invites already....
 
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Sulfinator

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I am also MD/PhD. I kept my PS down to 3 or 4 paragraphs (just one page total length). I did not say anything specific about my research experience because this was detailed in the CAF; and I did not feel the need to discuss any particular research interest in the PS.

And, no, I do not think it's too late to submit your application.
 

chromatin

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sulfinator-
many thanks to your response!
I am still working on keeping it under 1 page..
 

CharlieKat

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Best advice I got when I applied was to keep the PS short. I had an advisor who cut it down to half a page. I worried about it at the time. Now, I read applications at my program and I understand why he did this. Faculty read a lot of applications and don't want to get bogged down in lengthy missives! I think Dr. Remick's key points are excellent. Don't recap your resume and every detail of your research. If there have been any gaps in your training or you are track switching, explain these!
 

Autopsy Sweet

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Now that I'm on the other side of things (in residency), I realize that I spent way too much time worrying about the darn personal statements. My advice is entirely selfish:

1. Don't be wordy (already mentioned several times, but I MUST reiterate it; wasting the time of a interviewer with something that can be conveyed in half the words is not a good way to start off)

2. Don't be weird (this may require the assistance of an OBJECTIVE but honest friend who can help you edit your statement). Let me tell you, I looked forward to meeting several applicants last year, not because they were good candidates, but because the personal statement was so out there that I had to meet the person behind the madness....also not a good way to start off with the interviewer.

Briefly explain any absences or delays in education. It's really nothing to worry about.